Cities of consumption: the impact of corporate practices on the health of urban populations

J Urban Health. 2008 Jul;85(4):462-71. doi: 10.1007/s11524-008-9278-7.


The increasing concentration of the world's population in cities and the growing accumulation of political and economic power by corporations create new threats to health and opportunities for improving global health. By considering the intersection of these two fundamental social determinants of well-being, we elucidate some of the mechanisms by which they influence the health of urban populations. After reviewing the changing historical impact of corporations on cities, we focus on the growth of consumption as a leading cause of mortality and morbidity and describe how the food, tobacco, automobile, and other industries promote unhealthy behaviors and lifestyles in urban settings. Cities are also sites for developing alternatives to unhealthy corporate practices, and we assess strategies used to modify practices that harm health.

MeSH terms

  • Cities*
  • Commerce
  • Humans
  • Public Health / trends*
  • Public Sector*
  • Urban Health / trends*
  • Urban Population*